The Ukrainian company ABC, Talk with Me!, founded by two successful computer developers from Ukraine and Belarus, has launched an interesting type of products for children and their parents – Alphabetic Blocks with augmented reality.
ABC, Talk with Me! is the platform where physical learning toys step into the digital world
Just imagine – good old “alphabetic blocks” with a capability of their immersion into the virtual world. In fact, a buyer purchases ordinary cubic blocks (also known as bricks or wooden cubes). From these children can build various structures, learn letters on their sides with help of their parents, or put them together to form words. These toys improve a child’s motor skills and imagination. But with a mobile phone or tablet with Android or IOS camera, which are getting into a must-have for grown-ups in a family and with the use of computer vision technology, these smart gadgets for adults will turn into a good teacher or pal for children as well. With the built-in camera, ABC, Talk with Me!, “smart program” analyses and finds blocks with letters. It also teaches a child how to play various games with physical toys.
Several different educational games with alphabetic blocks are already available. The first one is “learn a new letter”. A child and/or his or her parent directs the cell phone or tablet camera at a particular block – and then see it through the magical prism. As soon as a block with the letter appears on the screen, the child immediately hears a voice telling him/her how to pronounce this letter, and the screen displays a funny character that is well-known to a child and whose first letter is on the block. Other games are for the more experienced connoisseurs of letters: “find a letter” or “put blocks together to form a certain word” If a child manages to fulfill the task, a funny creature on the screen greets him/her. Now ABC, Talk with Me! company is working on new games, including interactive stories, riddles and puzzles. It turns out that parents, when buying a toy, get a lot of different games! It is noteworthy that these games can be played in various ways. If your kid is too small, you can put your phone or tablet on the stand. The child will play with blocks , even without seeing the screen. This eliminates the problem that bothers all parents – to limit the time a child plays with electronic devices up to 15 minutes a day. Because, in fact, a child simply receives voice prompts from the electronic tutor.
More advanced young learners can try to direct the camera of the phone or tablet at the blocks on their own, which is not so easy for children: in order to grasp the prize – the image on the screen, it is not enough to have a good grasp on the device, but also to direct it in the right direction. A child does his/her best making efforts to learn letters and make words. And this is not only training of the mind, but also improvement of motoric skills, complex processes. And for the young eyes it is healthy to fix them alternately at the screen and at the blocks.
Curiously, but this toy has also a social function. After all, adults, especially fathers, get bored with playing blocks with their children. But playing blocks in the virtual reality – this is something fascinating! This will revive your well-forgotten joy of childhood games and share it with your kids. ABC, Talk with Me!, now plans to release new games for kids: puzzles, puzzle blocks, and interactive books.
Also important is that the company founders – Maxim Ronshin and Dmitry Moyseenko are parents, and they developed and tested this technology on their children, who enjoyed the benefits of the new learning reality.
Later Nikolas Smykovsky and Viktoriia Liashenko joined the company. They made a significant contribution to the project development. They revived the project, implementing their own vision. Blocks were turned from an idea into something that brought excitement into children’s eyes, especially for kindergarteners. Moreover, ABC, Talk with Me! blocks appeared on the shelves of toy shops. With their support, different conferences were held, along with a crowdfunding project: ProduktHant. Also the team joined to the charitable organization and conducted English lessons enriched with new methodology ABC, Talk with Me! for children in Institute of Cancer and in a hospital for children with AIDS.
The next step will be developing new apps with augmented reality for children. The ABC, Talk with Me! team wants to bring kids joy and to make this world better. You can find the app and get blocks on the site: